The Knicks are giving David Blatt consideration for their head coaching job, sources tell Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Team president Phil Jackson has a favorable view of the former Cavaliers coach who played with Knicks GM Steve Mills at Princeton, according to Begley. Interim head coach Kurt Rambis remains a strong candidate to win the removal of his interim tag, but Jackson plans to do his due diligence and consider others, league sources tell Begley.
Jackson has reportedly been pulling for Rambis from the start of his interim gig, and Begley and ESPN colleague Marc Stein reported just last week that Jackson was pushing for Rambis to get a long-term deal as head coach. However, owner James Dolan is reportedly researching potential front office replacements for Jackson, and Rambis hasn’t distinguished himself with a 9-18 mark since taking over on the bench.
A wide-ranging search would seemingly be the preference of Carmelo Anthony, who’s said he’d like Jackson to at least listen to other candidates for the head coaching job. Sources recently indicated to Marc Berman of the New York Post that former head coach Derek Fisher drew more respect from Knicks players than Rambis does.
Blatt didn’t always have command of the locker room in Cleveland, where his relationship with LeBron James was a matter of close scrutiny. Blatt’s camp believes James was the sole catalyst for the team’s coaching change from Blatt to Tyronn Lue earlier this season, as TNT’s David Aldridge reported.
In any case, Blatt comes to the table with a much more impressive record than Rambis has. The Cavs made the finals last summer under Blatt’s watch and went 83-40 overall during his tenure. Rambis is 65-163 all-time as an NBA head coach, though with decidedly less talent on his rosters. Blatt, the former Russian national team coach, also figures to be a candidate for the head coaching job of the Russian-owned Nets, who have an interim coach of their own in Tony Brown.